Grandmothers (bibis) and grandfathers (babus) have always played an important role in the upbringing of children in Tanzania. In recent years, the huge loss of a middle generation through AIDS has led to grandparents being the sole providers of care to many orphans.
In 2007, the Project took a decision to start a scheme to support the many elderly carers of our orphans. New members receive a mosquito net and mattress, and all members receive an annual bedsheet and a monthly donation of maize, beans, soap and plastic bags. Each month, a BabuBibi Club lunch is held at the orphan welfare centre, where they receive a special meal and a small food package to help with their duties as carers.
A number of bibis are employed as storytellers at the Zawadi School, enabling them to earn a small amount of money while the children benefit from learning about the traditions of their society. There are also many gardening bibis and babus, who are employed to grow vegetables in the School’s garden. These vegetables are contributed to the feeding programme for the Zawadi School and Lloyd Fund children.
It costs around £2,700 per year to provide this vital support. In 2012, we expanded the scheme to include a total of 40 elderly carers. This number has steadily increased and we now have 65 beneficiaries.